How To Find Free, High-Resolution Photos For Any Use

How To Find Free, High-Resolution Photos For Any Use

by Gary Oldwood on 31 May 2017 · 3041 views

A picture is worth a thousand words, and undoubtedly having attractive images is a crucial element on websites or presentations. However, locating and using suitable ones has its risks, so here is how you can find easily and legally free images for usage on your projects.

The brain processes images 60.000 times faster

In a website, a photo can describe a small story a lot more eloquently than lengthy text paragraphs. This is confirmed by official statistics, which state that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.

The fastest supercomputer in the world, similarly to the human brain, is processing images 60,000 times faster than text.

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Regarding usage licenses

In the beginning of this article, we mentioned the dangers that lie in finding and using images. The most basic of these risks is the violation of copyrights owned by the creators of the project.

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First of all, a large number of users, especially novice website owners, believe that just because they found a photo on the internet they can simply use it for their own purposes just by mentioning its source; however, this is illegal for the most part though. The photographer, from the time of taking the photo, has full and exclusive copyright to use it. The same applies to a graphics artist or a simple user who composes an image from scratch.

Without the express permission of the author, no one has the right to use photos found on the internet. And you should keep in mind that mentioning the source doesn’t make things much better.

Most photos in the websites included in this article are free from copyright limitations, for a variety of reasons. Their images may have been added to the Public Domain- just like several movies that can be downloaded legally. Or, perhaps the author might have renounced the copyrights by deliberately selecting a free license, such as Creative Commons.

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Free photos for public and commercial use

The author that chooses an open license actually provides his items for free. In essence, he abandons all the copyrights stemming from the corresponding law. This means that you can copy, modify, and distribute the item, even for commercial purposes, without asking for any permission.

The license doesn’t concern just photos, but also any kind of item, such as video, text, music etc.

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons website, among other things, also has a handy search tool. It allows you to search in a very convenient way for thousands of free images, through the most famous professional photography websites.

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Some of these services are known to most people, such as Google Images, Wikimedia Commons, Flickr, and Pixabay.

This search tools has many search options, depending on what you want. Thus, it can provide professional photos that are available for modification and customization for commercial purposes.

In most cases, it is certain that the photos are free of copyright limitations. However, this excellent service advises users to check for any possibility regarding licensing restrictions. What you can do in this case is check whether the photo is accompanied by the relevant public usage icon, which may be different depending on the service you chose for your search.

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Unsplash is one of the largest and most trusted websites, in which you can find free, high-resolution photos with absolutely no usage restrictions. All images in Unsplash are free of any copyright limitations. As it is mentioned in the website, you can use the photos in any way you want.

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The site adds new photos every ten days. All of them, without exceptions, are distinguished by exceptional lighting, while there is a huge variety of themes as well.

Each photo includes a link to the photographer, so if you wish you can learn more about a particular image and its generous creator.

Unsplash, among other things, also provides an extension with which you can have beautiful high-resolution photos on every new tab that you open in Chrome.

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Pixabay is widely known for its wide range of free, high-resolution photos. All images in this website are available to download legally under the Creative Commons license. It has a great search tool that allows you to particularly define what kind of image you want to find.

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The only drawback (if you could call it drawback) is that at the top of the image results for each search there are various images with the Shutterstock watermark, which is the sponsor of the site.

Pixabay, in addition to free photos, also has a wealth of videos for legitimate use. It also has an app for Android and iOS. This way, by creating an account on the website you can easily upload your own photos taken with your smartphone.


Gratisography is undoubtedly one of the best ways for obtaining free high-resolution photos. The site is distinguished by the peculiarity of the images it provides, since most photos focus mostly on design and visual arts.

Gratisography is the implementation of the eccentric New York artist Ryan McGuire, owner of Bells Design, which is one of New York’s most famous and innovative photo studios.

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The site provides a huge collection of free high-resolution photos, which you can use in any way that you want.

If you’re looking for some fine artistic photographs, then this website is definitely the place to look for.

IM Free

IM Free offers an elaborate collection of free photos, most of which are available for personal or commercial use. Its image database covers a wide range of topics, such as nature, technology, sports, and others.

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However, due to the fact that all free photos come from different third-party sites, it's a good idea to make sure that the images you wish to use have the expected copyright licenses.

New Old Stock

New Old Stock is an excellent website that provides vintage photos obtained from public records, without the typical copyright limitations.

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Several of New Old Stock's free photos entered the public domain due to their old age, which makes this website one of the best places for finding old, black and white photos.

Most images include short descriptions and are in high resolution.


Picography has a large number of beautiful and natural photos which are free to use for any purposes. The site is similar to Unsplash, and allows you to create collections of images you want to find.

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Death to the Stock Photo

This website has undoubtedly the most "aggressive" name. Death to the Stock Photo provides many images for personal and legitimate commercial use.

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The website recommends that you subscribe to a mailing list so as to be one of the first users who get to know about new photos that were added.

Google Images

We left this service last, because you are most likely using it already.

Google Images requires special attention, because most images are not free from copyright limitations. So, you need to use the website’s tools in order to avoid violations.

In this case, your search must be performed after having verified that you selected Labeled for reuse with modification under the Usage rights option.

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No matter what kind of image you are looking for, as you saw in this article, there is a plethora of useful websites that provide free photos. Google Images is usually the most common solution, except for the fact that not all of them are free, their quality is not that great either.

If you have any suggestions or thoughts, let us know in the comments section below!

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